July 25, 2012
I want to start with a quote from young man named Philip from the Philippine Islands:
"As we moved forward to a free generation of AIDS, more young people are living with HIV. We look to the older generation of activist for mentorship to guard us and give us the skills and tools. We need to continue the fight. What we need from them is not for them to tell us what to do rather to ask us what we are willing to do to have an AIDS free generation."
On July 24, 2012 there was an amazing march on Washington, D.C., which included five activist arms. They marched from five different locations to meet at Layette Park across from the White House. The one that I participated in was called Women Making Waves -- the women's arm of the march. Positive Women's Network was one of the leaders in the march with women from around the global, chanting: "All Women, All Rights" and "Making Waves" and "when women are under attack what do we stand up and fight back!" There was close to 2,000 women and men and young people within the march they all had the same messages to End AIDS now!
As a woman living with HIV for over seventeen years and been to several marches over the years, the Women Making Waves march took my breath away, because it was attended by people from all over the world. On top of all of that, it was the first time in 22 years that the International AIDS Conference was in the United States thanks to President Obama lifting the travel ban for people living with HIV to enter into the United States. We still have our work cut out for us because the travel ban still does not allow sex workers or people who use drugs to travel into the United States.
Activists were arrested at the march doing civil disobedience, I need to say that women have been a afterthought in the HVI epidemic and not made a propriety however when arresting people women then were made a priority and women activists were the first to be arrested. How ironic is that. Julie Davids who is longtime member of ACT-UP Philadelphia, founder of the organization Prevention Justice Alliance and several other women from ACT-UP Philadelphia were the first women to be arrested along with Roy Hayes longtime member of ACT-UP Philadelphia.
All over the world women are turning the tide together.